The West Virginia University basketball team debuted in the annual Blue and Gold scrimmage game at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown on Friday night.
Fans gathered to watch the debut of the Mountaineer's squad to see just what head Coach Bob Huggins will be dealing with this season.
Huggins was greeted with a warm ovation as he walked the blue and gold carpet and addressed the fans before the activities began.
"Thank God we're in Morgantown," Huggins said.
Morgantown, a college town that takes great pride in its university's athletics was reassured by Huggins that this year's basketball team would represent the fans, the university and the state with great honor.
This will be Huggins' seventh year as the Mountaineer's head coach as he'll take on the task of coaching another young team and will look for better results than last season.
The Blue and Gold Debut started the night off with a dunk contest between three of the Mountaineer players. The Participants were sophomore guard, Terry Henderson, junior guard, Tyrone Hughes and sophomore guard, Eron Harris. Harris would go on to win the dunk contest with a spectacular dunk in which he received a pass from a fellow teammate, who he then leaped over to jam the ball home.
After the dunk contest the team was ready for the scrimmage. The Blue Team consisted of: 6-7 freshman forward, Jonathan Holton, 6-9 freshman forward Devin Williams, 5-11 sophomore guard, James Long, junior 6-1 guard Gary Browne, 6-4 sophomore guard, Terry Henderson and 6-0 junior guard, Tyrone Hughes.
The Gold Team was made up of: 6-1 junior guard, Juwan Staten, 6-1 freshman guard, Chase Connor, 6-9 freshman forward, Nathan Adrian, 6-2 sophomore guard, Eron Harris, 6-9 freshman forward, Brandon Watkins, 5-11 sophomore guard, Richard Romeo and 6-10 junior forward, Kevin Noreen.
The game started and slow and finished the same way. Both team's struggled from three land. The Blue team was lousy 3-19 from behind the arc while the Gold team didn't fare any better as they were 3-18.
"I was honestly a little bit surprised we didn't make more shots, "said Huggins after the game. "One thing we've done pretty consistently is make shots, more open shots."
Holton lead the Blue Team in scoring with 11 while Adrian led the Gold Team with 10. The Blue Team was 17-51 giving them a 33.3 shooting percentage. The Gold Team fell just below that, shooting 13-47, a 27.7 shooting percentage.
Neither team could amount much offense as each team looked sloppy with the ball. The Blue Team turned the ball over 14 times while the Gold Team turned it over 11 times. Either the offensive play is struggling or the defensive play is productive.
"We got to get up and down more," said Huggins.
Huggins' squad has a lot of new faces on it. A lot of time spent at practice is teaching the newer players how everything works.
Despite the new faces there are still some familiar faces too. It was evident who those faces were as they were showing up on multiple plays during the scrimmage.
There's no doubt this young team will be led by Henderson and Harris. These two players played significant time last season and are looking to build off their experience. Henderson is a very sound player with a lot talent. Henderson finished the scrimmage with five points, four assists and five rebounds. Harris on the other hand may be the team's best player up to this point as he displayed a lot of hustle and positive signs during the scrimmage. Harris finished the game with nine points, no assists and seven rebounds.
The Blue Team went on to defeat the Gold Team, 41-32.
This young Mountaineer's basketball team is going to need to work out the kinks seen in this scrimmage before the season starts. The Mountaineers are scheduled to have a closed scrimmaged against Ohio State next weekend.